What is a Member Group?

A Member Group enables members of the Institute (and others) to share and advance their common interests in Information Technology. Member Groups are integral to BCS and are bound by the Institute’s Royal Charter and rules.

The responsibility of every Member Group is ‘to promote the study and practice of Computing and to advance knowledge and education therein for the benefit of the public ‘ within its chosen area.

A Member Group can be a Branch, a Specialist Group, International Section or any other properly constituted (see Creating a Member Group) grouping approved by the Community Board on behalf of the Institute. Members of the Institute are encouraged to join and become active in Member Groups.

Branches and International Sections are geographic clusters of members; upon joining the Institute each member will be given the option of joining one or more Branches, the default is the Branch or International Section nearest to their home address. Specialist Groups are formed by a number of people with a common interest in some aspect of Information Technology, its application, or impact.  

The Institute supports Member Groups, both financially and with other resources (details of which follow later). The Community Board provides a link into the Institute’s decision-making process and the Membership Group team of staff based at BCS Swindon are there to give practical assistance.

Every Member Group has an administrator in BCS Swindon who is there to support the Member Group: Community Coordinators (PDF).

  1. What does a Member Group do?

Each group has aims and objectives and, to achieve them, it arranges events such as presentations, conferences, seminars, workshops and social gatherings and facilitates networking. Each Member Group will typically hold four or more events a year, open to all members of the group.

Member Groups may also establish partnerships with other bodies in order to pursue joint initiatives, see the section on “Links with other organisations” http://www.volunteer.bcs.org/Rules_links for more information.

  1. Who can join a Member Group?

 Anyone can participate in a Member Group, although as explained in more detail elsewhere, only Institute members can vote at meetings. The mechanisms for joining a Member Group include using the web site www.bcs.org or contacting Customer Services.

A Member Group can apply conditions of entry to the group, e.g. a group for young professionals might have an age limit. In general, conditions should be seen as reasonable and necessary for the group to be credible (e.g. BCS Women or BCS IT Leaders Forum) without discouraging those who wish to learn from those with more knowledge and experience.

  1. Who can come to Member Group events?

Everyone is welcome to attend Member Group events unless the Member Group chooses to restrict attendance. 

Where a meeting fee is charged, this should normally be lower for Institute members. The same applies, where practicable, to conferences and publications.